History

In the wake of Pope Benedict’s announcement that he is resigning from the papacy, I thought I would speak with the historian Dr. Andrew Jones about the history of papal resignations. While it hasn’t happened often in history, there have been popes who have resigned before, and their resignations (technically, their renunciations of the papacy) […]

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This Friday, the Church celebrates the conversion of St. Paul. Here are eight things you need to know about him–and his conversion.   1. Where was St. Paul from? In Acts 21:39, St. Paul states: “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city.” Tarsus was the capital city of […]

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This Sunday we celebrate the mystery of the Holy Family. What was it like for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to live together? Each is a very remarkable person! Put all three together and . . . wow. Today we have reality shows about interesting and extraordinary families, but they didn’t have reality shows back then. […]

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On December 28, the Church commemorates the slaughter of the holy innocents. These are the baby boys in Bethlehem that Herod the Great had slaughtered in an attempt to kill the Baby Jesus. But many people today challenge the idea that this ever took place. “We have no record of it!” they say. Actually, we […]

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If you attended Mass on Christmas Eve, you may have heard the “Christmas proclamation.” This is a beautiful, poetic announcement of the birth of Christ. It says when Jesus was born, dating it from nine different events. But the ways that they dated events in the ancient world are different than the ones we use […]

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There’s a lot of confusion about Christmas. Is it a day? Is it a season? Is it based on a pagan holiday? What is its real meaning? Here are 9 things you should know about Christmas . . .   1. What is “the real meaning of Christmas”? Although many voices in pop culture suggest […]

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Pope Benedict has just released a new book about Jesus Christ. It’s appropriate that he released it now–just before Christmas–because it deals with the birth of Jesus. It’s called Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives. Here are 9 things you should know about it . . .   1. Why did Pope Benedict write this […]

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Recently we looked at the claim that Mark derived the information in his Gospel from St. Peter. This claim dates to a first century source: a figure called “John the Presbyter,” who was a disciple of Jesus. According to some in the early Church–and according to Pope Benedict–we may have already met this mysterious figure […]

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It is traditionally held that Mark wrote his gospel based on information he learned from St. Peter, after having been his travelling companion. Where does this claim come from? And would it surprise you to know that we have a first century source that claims precisely this? Here’s the story . . .   What We […]

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Recently it was announced that Pope Benedict’s new Twitter handle is @pontifex. Why did he pick this name, and what does it mean, anyway? The word’s origin is more surprising than you might think!   Other Possible Names Pope Benedict might have picked other names. Some plausible ones include: @pope @popebenedict @popebenedictxvi @benedictxvi @popebenedict16 Why […]

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